(Image via prosportsfanatics.com)
Staff Writer: Colton Almeida
The 2023 Major League Baseball season is officially underway. Some teams may have higher expectations than others, but the promise of opening day gives all 30 clubs renewed aspirations.
As the opening week wraps up, here are my official division, postseason, and award predictions for the 2023 season.
- New York Yankees (101-61)
- Toronto Blue Jays (95-67)
- Tampa Bay Rays (88-74)
- Boston Red Sox (80-82)
- Baltimore Orioles (76-86)
I am not predicting anything crazy for the AL East.
The Yankees once again look like the division’s best team. Aaron Judge is fresh off his incredible 62-home run campaign. New York will also once again bolster both a strong rotation and a solid bullpen. Look for Carlos Rodon to be a key addition.
The Blue Jays continue to find themselves on the rise. I see them as a big-time contender this year as their young lineup continues to develop.
The Rays will likely be their usual self – a highly competitive team that lacks superstar talent (outside of Wander Franco).
Look for the Red Sox and Orioles to round out the division with sub.500 records.
- Minnesota Twins (90-72)
- Cleveland Guardians (83-79)
- Chicago White Sox (81-81)
- Kansas City Royals (65-97)
- Detroit Tigers (60-102)
I believe the AL Central to be the worst division in baseball.
Last season, the Guardians were able to capture the division title with just 92 wins. This year, I have them finishing second behind the improved Twins.
I actually have Minnesota capturing the division crown with even fewer wins than last year’s champs.
The White Sox had high expectations a season ago. They massively underachieved and ended up missing the postseason. So what will they do for an encore? Largely the same thing. I really like Tim Anderson, Dylan Cease, and several other pieces on this team. However, it still feels like they are missing a punch in their lineup. With Liam Hendriks unfortunately dealing with cancer, I am not so sure about the backend of their bullpen either.
Both the Royals and Tigers finished in the 60-win range last season. I’ll put them at similar numbers once again in 2023 as they continue their multi-year rebuilds.
- Houston Astros (103-59)
- Seattle Mariners (98-64)
- Texas Rangers (90-72)
- Los Angeles Angels (75-87)
- Oakland Athletics (48-114)
I have tempered my bias here and put the Mariners second in the AL West. But boy, do I want to put them first.
The Astros are still absolutely loaded fresh off their 2022 World Series title. Yordan Alvarez is one of, if not the scariest hitters in all of baseball. Justin Verlander may have departed, but the rotation remains strong, and the bullpen should again be amongst baseball’s elite.
The Mariners have the brightest future in baseball, bar none. They were finally able to end their 20+ season playoff drought a season ago before falling to Houston in the second round. Despite being swept in that series, all 3 games were highly competitive.
Julio Rodriguez is a budding superstar for Seattle, and the rotation features four legitimate aces Luis Castillo, Logan Gilbert, George Kirby, and Robbie Ray. Look for the Mariners to be incredible in 2023.
I am also very high on the Rangers. They continue to make big free-agent splashes, with this year’s big addition being ace Jacob DeGrom. I also really like rookie third-baseman Josh Jung.
The Angels will once again be mediocre, despite having two of baseball’s greatest, Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani.
Lastly, I think the Athletics will truly be one of the worst baseball teams ever, as their lineup has no true threats from top to bottom.
- Atlanta Braves (97-65)
- Philadelphia Phillies (94-68)
- New York Mets (88-74)
- Miami Marlins (70-92)
- Washington Nationals (53-109)
I am done picking any other team than the Braves to win the NL East.
Last year, the Mets were able to hold on to the division lead virtually the whole way, just to slip up at the very end. I do not have much to say on Atlanta, as they seem to be a consistent roster once again.
The Phillies made the World Series a season ago and actually led the series 2-1 at one point. They, of course, fell short but have added another star in shortstop Trea Turner. I think they will be just as good, if not better, in 2023.
In third, I have the Mets, who are poised for another “Mets” season. If you are confused, this simply means they will have a solid season before ultimately failing their fans either before the playoffs or just as they begin. You know, the Mets are gonna Met.
The Marlins and Nationals will both struggle. The latter may be the worst team in baseball if it weren’t for a team out in Oakland.
- St. Louis Cardinals (92-70)
- Chicago Cubs (85-77)
- Milwaukee Brewers (84-78)
- Cincinnati Reds (66-96)
- Pittsburgh Pirates (60-102)
Okay, so actually, this may be the worst division in baseball. I don’t know, something about the league’s two central divisions that scream “mid.”
Anyways, I have the Cardinals once again winning the division, led by stars Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado.
Here is probably my biggest shocker.
I like the Cubs. I really do. They don’t really have a whole lot of hitting, but Dansby Swanson and Eric Hosmer should help a bit. I am also banking on a Cody Bellinger resurgence. Coming over from the Dodgers, Bellinger has slumped in recent seasons. If he can return to his MVP form, Chicago could legitimately contend in 2023.
Oh, and two more basement dwellers for you to enjoy in the Reds and Pirates.
- Los Angeles Dodgers (104-58)
- San Diego Padres (103-59)
- Colorado Rockies (77-85)
- San Francisco Giants (72-90)
- Arizona Diamondbacks (70-92)
I will not fall into the trap of putting the Padres ahead of the Dodgers. I may have to write that statement on a chalkboard 100 times. Because despite having such an elite roster, I just know San Diego will not beat out Los Angeles.
The Dodgers always own this division (at least for the regular season), so I will put them *one* game better than the Padres. Look for Xander Bogaerts to be a huge addition to San Diego, to join forces with Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr., and Juan Soto.
I think the Rockies could be better. Their lineup has pop, and if their pitching can do anything, I can see them squeaking out a lot of high-scoring wins. Bold take, but I believe it to be possible.
The Giants have some pitching but don’t possess the overall roster to challenge the likes of San Diego or Los Angeles.
Finally, the Diamondbacks will continue to rebuild amidst the basement of the NL West. Many are higher on the D-Backs, but I just don’t see it for this season.
– AL Division Winners: Astros, Yankees, Twins
– AL Wild Cards: Mariners, Blue Jays, Rangers
– NL Division Winners: Dodgers, Braves, Cardinals
– NL Wild Cards: Padres, Phillies, Mets
– #6 Rangers over #3 Twins 2-1
– #4 Mariners over #5 Blue Jays 2-1
– #3 Cardinals over #6 Mets 2-0
– #4 Padres over #5 Phillies 2-1
– #4 Mariners over #1 Astros 3-2
– #2 Yankees over #6 Rangers 3-0
– #1 Dodgers over #4 Padres 3-2
– #2 Braves over #3 Cardinals 3-1
– #4 Mariners over #2 Yankees 4-3
– #2 Braves over #1 Dodgers 4-3
Mariners over Braves 4-2
World Series MVP: Julio Rodriguez
– AL: Shohei Ohtani (LAA)
– NL: Nolan Arenado (STL)
– AL: George Kirby (SEA)
– NL: Spencer Strider (ATL)
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
– AL: Josh Jung (TEX)
– NL: Miguel Vargas (LAD)
MANAGER OF THE YEAR
– AL: Bruce Bochy (TEX)
– NL: Bob Melvin (SD)